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Published: Wednesday, 4/3/2013

On cusp of new season

Mud Hens visit home, prepare for road debut

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The Mud Hens stopped home, but not for long: They open the season Thursday in Louisville. The Mud Hens stopped home, but not for long: They open the season Thursday in Louisville.
BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

The Mud Hens alighted Tuesday at Fifth Third Field in preparation for the 2013 season, which begins Thursday in Louisville.

Manager Phil Nevin, his coaching staff, and the 25-man roster will meet with the media in the afternoon before holding batting practice at the ballpark. Today they will bus to Louisville in preparation for Thursday’s 6:35 p.m. opener.

Nevin said that right-hander Shawn Hill will get the start against the Bats in the opener. He will be followed by a rotation that leans heavily to the left, thanks to southpaws Pat Misch, Casey Crosby, Duane Below, and Jose Alvarez.

“We have two solid guys who have pitched in the big leagues in Hill and Misch,” Nevin said. “They just know how to pitch. They know how to get outs.”

The opening day outfield will feature Nick Castellanos in left, Quintin Berry in center, and Danny Dorn in right. The infield against the Bats will have Kevin Russo at third base, Danny Worth at shortstop, Argenis Diaz at second base, and Jordan Lennerton at first, with Bryan Holaday doing the catching.

“The thing that stands out right away is our defense, especially up the middle,” Nevin said. “When you are building a championship caliber team, that’s something you want: [Defensive] strength up the middle.”

Nevin expects the makeup of the outfield to be fairly constant, but the infield should see plenty of changes from day to day, thanks to the versatility of all the infielders.

“Worth will get most of the reps at shortstop, but Diaz will play once in a while there, and so will [Gustavo] Nunez,” Nevin said. “Russo also will play second — and Worth, Diaz, and Nunez can play all three spots.”

The batting order for Thursday’s opener will have Berry leading off, followed by Russo, Castellanos, and designated hitter John Lindsey. Dorn will be next, followed by Worth, Lennerton, Holaday, and Diaz.

The Mud Hens play four games in Louisville and three in Indianapolis before returning to Fifth Third Field to host Louisville in the home opener on Thursday, April 11, starting at 5 p.m.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com,419-724-6481 or onTwitter @jwagnerblade.



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